Trail Life USA is an exciting outdoor youth development organization steeped in the values and 
priorities of the Christian faith. It is dedicated to helping the boy of today become the man of 
tomorrow.
 
In the opening decade of the 20th Century, British General Robert Baden-Powell pondered how 
to use his fame as the Hero of Mafeking to inspire English boys to “be prepared” to face life with 
a can-do attitude of self-reliance, courage and honor. He was aware that his military guide, “Aids 
to Scouting” was being used by groups of young people who independently formed the first 
scout patrols. These boys needed a more appropriate guide tailored to their age and their need to 
become productive citizens, so BP consulted two great leaders in youth development; Ernest 
Thompson Seton of the Woodcraft Indians, and Daniel Carter Beard of the Sons of Daniel 
Boone.
 
The most important result of this collaboration was the idea of the “Boy Scout.” Pretending was 
well and good in its place, but no boy could ever become an Indian, a Pioneer, or a veteran of the 
Siege of Mafeking. A boy could actually become a Boy Scout and use the classical three aims 
and eight methods to help him forge through adventures, fun, and inspiration into manhood. 
Problem was, BP’s version of Boy Scouting relied heavily on society to help supply the single 
most important attribute of maturity—which should have been the ninth method—spiritual 
development. A generic plea to do one’s “Duty to God” may have been good enough in the early 
1900’s, but in failing to found the movement on the solid rock of God’s revealed word, it was 
left resting solely on the shifting sands of popular culture. In the opening decade of the 21st 
Century it became clear that Scouting was besieged by growing opposition to its conservative 
course. In the spring of 2013 the weaknesses endemic to the original organizational model could 
no longer be ignored. 
 
Trail Life USA is not a new idea. The need to specifically include Christ rather than relying on 
DYOF (Define Your Own Faith) had been talked about for years. It was an idea waiting for a 
defining moment, a catalyst, a spark. The BSA change in membership standards in May 2013 
was that spark, but the tinder it ignited had been accumulating for some time. 
Trail Life USA is now beginning its first century. Like the movements that inspired it, there will 
be changes through the years in its outward appearance, new editions of its materials, new 
customs and new opportunities. One thing will not change, and that is the revealed Word of God 
to whose glory we humbly dedicate this program. It will always be the standard of those who 
would “Walk Worthy.”
Trail Life USA is an exciting outdoor youth development organization steeped in the values and 
priorities of the Christian faith. It is dedicated to helping the boy of today become the man of 
tomorrow.
 
In the opening decade of the 20th Century, British General Robert Baden-Powell pondered how 
to use his fame as the Hero of Mafeking to inspire English boys to “be prepared” to face life with 
a can-do attitude of self-reliance, courage and honor. He was aware that his military guide, “Aids 
to Scouting” was being used by groups of young people who independently formed the first 
scout patrols. These boys needed a more appropriate guide tailored to their age and their need to 
become productive citizens, so BP consulted two great leaders in youth development; Ernest 
Thompson Seton of the Woodcraft Indians, and Daniel Carter Beard of the Sons of Daniel 
Boone.
 
The most important result of this collaboration was the idea of the “Boy Scout.” Pretending was 
well and good in its place, but no boy could ever become an Indian, a Pioneer, or a veteran of the 
Siege of Mafeking. A boy could actually become a Boy Scout and use the classical three aims 
and eight methods to help him forge through adventures, fun, and inspiration into manhood. 
Problem was, BP’s version of Boy Scouting relied heavily on society to help supply the single 
most important attribute of maturity—which should have been the ninth method—spiritual 
development. A generic plea to do one’s “Duty to God” may have been good enough in the early 
1900’s, but in failing to found the movement on the solid rock of God’s revealed word, it was 
left resting solely on the shifting sands of popular culture. In the opening decade of the 21st 
Century it became clear that Scouting was besieged by growing opposition to its conservative 
course. In the spring of 2013 the weaknesses endemic to the original organizational model could 
no longer be ignored. 
 
Trail Life USA is not a new idea. The need to specifically include Christ rather than relying on 
DYOF (Define Your Own Faith) had been talked about for years. It was an idea waiting for a 
defining moment, a catalyst, a spark. The BSA change in membership standards in May 2013 
was that spark, but the tinder it ignited had been accumulating for some time. 
Trail Life USA is now beginning its first century. Like the movements that inspired it, there will 
be changes through the years in its outward appearance, new editions of its materials, new 
customs and new opportunities. One thing will not change, and that is the revealed Word of God 
to whose glory we humbly dedicate this program. It will always be the standard of those who 
would “Walk Worthy.”
Information
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